Permits & Reservations

historic image of man at lodge reservation desk with employee holding luggage
Lake McDonald Lodge reservation desk, 1920s

NPS Archive/R.E. Marble

Reservations

Some services and activities in Glacier National Park either require reservations or reservations are recommended.

Lodging

Lodges fill up quickly and reservations are very strongly encouraged. Addresses and phone numbers are found on the Eating and Sleeping page.

Campgrounds

Most campgrounds in Glacier are first-come first-served with the exception of Fish Creek, St. Mary, some of Many Glacier, and half of the group sites in Apgar which can reserved on Recreation.gov. Reservations through Recreation.gov must be made 3 days in advance.

Backcountry Permits

From November 20th to May 1st, special backcountry camping regulations are in effect. Due to COVID-19 precautions, permits will be issued electronically by advance reservation only. Call 406-888-7800 and press 5 to leave a call-back number. A ranger will return your call within 3 work days. Permits may be obtained up to 7 days in advance.

For summer 2021 backcountry permits, reservations will be accepted online beginning March 15. More information is available on our
backcountry permit reservation page.

Ranger-led Activities

A handful of our ranger-led activities require reservations or tickets due to limited space. Details can be found in the monthly Ranger-led Activity Schedule.

Other Services

Guided Tours, like bus tours, guided hikes, horseback rides, and boat trips are often available without reservations, but if your trip plans are not flexible you should contact the companies providing those services directly and make reservations prior to coming to the park.

 

Permits

Boating

Aquatic invasive species are a growing concern. Freshwater zebra and quagga mussels have steadily advanced westward, transported on trailered boats. Protecting the waters of the Glacier requires immediate action, both by the parks and by every boater (be they kayaker or sport fisher). Learn about the park's boat inspection and permit program.

Research

Scientists representing academic institutions, government agencies, or private research organizations who are interested in obtaining a research and collection permit should visit the Research Permits page.

 

Special Use

Glacier National Park is home to many beautiful landscapes and settings that are ideal venues for a variety of special activities such as events, wedding ceremonies, and film and photography projects. Most special events and activities held in the park require a special use permit, issued only after the National Park Service determines that the activities involved will not impair park values and resources. Please note that there are usage limits for the number of people and vehicles for any special activity.

Special Park Uses Permit Offices have modified operations for the 2021 season due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

  • Applicants should be prepared for unanticipated permit changes, and even cancellations, of permits with little notice due to the possibility of unforeseen circumstances surrounding the unprecedented nature of COVID-19, and should plan accordingly. Due to short staffing and volume of permit requests, delayed NPS response time should also be anticipated.

  • Application packets, which consist of the application, non-refundable application fee, and liability insurance (if needed), must be received at the park a minimum of 20 business days before the requested permit date or your permit request can be denied.

  • Wedding Permit COVID-19 Restrictions
    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Glacier National Park has set a limit of a total of 30 people for all wedding ceremonies (please keep in mind that most wedding locations within Glacier NP have a limit of 15 people). This limit will be in effect throughout 2021. Total group size cannot exceed 30 people at any location, including the wedding couple, guests, officiants, and photographers. We appreciate your understanding in our efforts to keep visitors and staff safe.
 

Weddings

If you are interested in getting married in Glacier National Park please visit our Wedding Permits page.

 

Filming and Photography Permits

Permits are generally issued for photography, filming, and associated sound recordings to ensure protection of resources, to prevent significant disruption of normal visitor uses, or when they involve props, models, professional crews and casts or set dressings. Permits are required for access to areas normally closed to the visiting public, or either before or after normal visitation hours. The following procedures/guidelines apply to issuing permits for commercial filming and still photography.

Please note: a full application packet including a detailed application, non-refundable $100 application fee, and proof of general liability insurance (underwritten by a United States based company in the amounts of $1 million Each Occurrence and $1 million General Aggregate and naming the United States of America and Glacier National Park, PO BOX 128, West Glacier, MT 59936, as "Additionally Insured", with Glacier National Park listed as the Certificate Holder) must be received a minimum of 20 business days prior to requested permit dates.

If you are interested in conducting a commercial instructional photography workshop, please visit Commercial Use Permits.

 

Commercial Operators

Federal regulations prohibit engaging in or soliciting any business in park areas, except in accordance with the provisions of a permit, contract, or other written agreement with the United States. As in other National Park Service areas, commercial visitor services or other commercial activities may be provided only by those holding an authorization from the United States.

In Glacier National Park, concessions contracts have been issued to provide certain visitor services. These services include transportation and tour services, food services, backpacking and day hiking guide services, boat tours and small boat rentals, horseback riding, lodging, and retail sales.

Do Business With Us

 

Noncommercial or Nonprofit Groups

Noncommercial or nonprofit groups leading trips into Glacier require a permit. Please complete the application for a Special Use Permit and return with and your $100 non-refundable application fee, proof of your organization's nonprofit status (such as recognition from the IRS of tax-exempt eligibility) and proof of liability insurance with the additionally insured listed as "United States Government, the Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Glacier National Park, PO Box 128, West Glacier, MT 59936". Mail everything to the following address:

Attn: Special Use Permit Office
Glacier National Park
PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936

With the Special Use Permit, nonprofit groups are charged normal visitor entry fees for a 7 day pass for each vehicle with a capacity of 15 or fewer. More information about other vehicle sizes and pass options is available on our website under Entrance Fees.

 

Spreading of Ashes

Regarding spreading of ashes in Glacier National Park, we, must abide by the terms outlined in Title 36, "Code of Federal Regulations, Section 2.62(b), which states in part: "the scattering of human ashes from cremation is prohibited, except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit, or in designated areas according to conditions which may be established by the Superintendent."

In Glacier National Park, human ashes may be disbursed only in undeveloped areas of the Park; that is, not within 200 feet of any developed location, such as a road, trail, building, parking lot, boat ramp, swimming beach, campground, lake, etc. The ashes must be scattered and not deposited in any type of container. No marker or memorial of any sort may be placed at the site.

Also, please keep in mind that winter-like weather can occur at any time during the year, usually November through April, which may make access to a particular area impossible.

When you are ready to disburse of the ashes, send in a special use permit application and a letter will be sent to you which will serve as the official permit required by the citation referenced above and the instructions regarding location and notification will serve as the terms and conditions required by the citation. This letter or a copy thereof must be in the possession of at least one member of the party present when human ashes are scattered in the park.

Last updated: October 28, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936

Phone:

(406) 888-7800

Contact Us